PARKERSBURG- Changes in America that continue to have an impact on West Virginia prompted a U.S. congressman to seek public office.
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., spoke to the Parkersburg Rotary Club Monday about the state of the economy, jobs, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Washington, D.C.'s "War on Coal."
McKinley has been serving in the House of Representatives since Jan. 3, 2011.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., speaks to the Parkersburg Rotary Club Monday at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
He invoked the Rotary Club's motto of "Service Above Self" for why he is in Washington, D.C.
''Many people have gone to Washington to have a career,'' McKinley said. ''I am not there for a career.
''I am there to shake things up, make some noise, let them know that West Virginia is on the map, that they hear about us and they start respecting some of the traditions we have. America was at a crossroads and I still think it is. I got involved in the process.''
Many policies in Washington, D.C. have been detrimental to West Virginia's coal industry, which makes up a large percentage of the state's economy, McKinley said.
''There is a war on coal,'' McKinley said. ''I have a front-row seat to see the nonsense of how we are treated, especially by the Environmental Protection Agency.''
McKinley cited a period where he said the EPA could push certain policies on lawmakers in Congress.
''I am pushing back,'' he said.
Of the 435 members in the House and the 100 in the Senate, McKinley is only one of two engineers. Even though he was a freshman congressman, he pushed to get on the Energy and Commerce committee, which deals directly with coal, energy, gas, oil, drilling, health care, manufacturing, communications, intellectual properties and the Internet, issues that have a significant impact on West Virginia, he said.
For years, there was no one from West Virginia serving on that committee.
''It is no wonder that we were having some of the drama,'' McKinley said.
One of the biggest issues being faced in Congress is the idealogical battle between people who believe in more government spending as an economic model or a more free market approach, he said.
''There are people out there who say (more government spending) will work (to stimulate the economy)," McKinley said. ''I particularly don't subscribe to that. I am more of a free market guy.''
All the stimulus spending has not done much to jumpstart the economy, he said.
''As a result, you can see what happened; we have run a deficit (into trillions of dollars),'' McKinley said. ''We haven't cured our problems.
''We have got to stop all the spending. We have got to get it under control. We need to face up to reality. The Obama Administration inherited a weak economy, but their failed policies have made it worse.''
Rising gasoline prices are always a concern, but leaderships have said it is a complex global problem.
However, increasing the supply can be done through measures within North America, such as building the Keystone pipeline across the United States from Canada, McKinley said. This could add thousands of barrels of oil a day and lower gasoline prices, he said. It would create jobs in its construction and maintenance.
''There have been 11 recessions since World War II,'' McKinley said. ''During other recessions we would be coming out of it by this time with a lot of people working.
''There was a lot of activity going on with the economy growing at 3 to 5 percent. We are only at 1to 2 percent now. I think we need to be doing better.''
McKinley said he tries to take a common sense approach, based on his experience in the private sector. ''What I have tried to do in my career as a businessman is find common ground so we can get something accomplished,'' he said. ''America wants us to work together to get something accomplished.''